I love the Trockaderos!! They are an all male group of ballet dancers who take on both male and female rolls with a bit of comedy slapdash-ed in their acts. I got to see them on May 17, a Friday at the University of Washington campus at Meany Hall. I brought a friend along who hadn’t seen them before, let alone heard of them until I mentioned them.
Previously I had seen the Trockaderos in Tacoma at another theater that I happen to forget the name of at this time… My Husband had arranged for us to have a balcony seat with a nice view of the stage. They were very fun to watch for the first time.
What I like about Meany Hall, and being my first time there, the stage was so close to the audience. No doubt they could see a lot of faces in that completely sold out audience. Meany Hall was probably built in the early 60s, can you imagine it’s hey day with people in bold shift dresses and bouffant hair? Or better yet hippie university students? I would love to see historical photos of that! But I digress… The venue was nice for how close we were, though our far off seating was a win/lose situation. Close enough to the end to make a quick escape, being the end everyone who hadn’t seated yet in the middle had to get by us. There were no other aisles for people to use. We were a little far off from the stage where if they dancers started upstage corner we couldn’t see until they started going across. So a lot of entrances were lost on us unfortunately. Food and drinks were available. Everything from sweets to sandwiches and wraps. Beer, wine, soft drinks, etc. were also available and you could also reserve a drink for intermission, which there were 3, about 10-15 min long. Seating was comfortable, I didn’t even think too much of it so it must’ve been nice for me not to notice.
The night’s line up was Act II of Swan Lake, a very popular act for them to open with. Pas De Deux announced as Don Quixote and Go For Barocco. We also got the Dying Swan act as well as Walpurgis Night, a ballet I wasn’t familiar with which included fauns, nymphs and maidens.
Act II of Swan Lake would be my second showing since I saw it last year when I saw them for the first time. They were different dancers, but it was the same idea and wonderful. You couldn’t help but grin as a whole bunch of buff men, even one with chest hair heavily evident above the scoop neck of his leotard, start fronting like a street gang in an alley then to later start miming like their chickens with heads pecking. It was classic Trockaderos.
Pas De Deux of Don Quixote was my absolute favorite!! To know how physically hard it is to balance in attitude en pointe, and for a man it is extremely hard! That’s why it’s such a pleasure to watch men perform en pointe, and the Trockaderos especially, is that they train religiously like any company. They have high standards, and they’re fabulous and meticulous. While I found the PNW ballet to be loud and squeaky at their own stage. The guys barely made any thunking, minimal squeaks, and walked lighter and ran lighter than any female dancer I’ve heard. Men’s center of gravity is also higher than a woman’s causing them to struggle harder with balance, except these guys have it down. Not only that, but the essence of beautiful port de bras, beautiful back muscles, just beautiful everything! I’d love to be taught by them!
This is a video of Mikhail and Lyudmila in 1968 which is pretty much the same performance PDD the Trockaderos performed:
They were fabulous, and what was worse was that no one was applauding their mad skills! It made me SO angry. When you think someone deserves applause you give it to them!! Their PDD totally left me with my jaw on the floor.
Go for Barocco I had also seen at the first show in Tacoma. It’s a fun and technically complex piece I think has original choreography by George Balanchine but is Choreographed by Peter Anastos. Explained by the night’s program as ” Stylistic heir to Balanchine’s Middle-Blue-Verging-On-Blac-and-White Period, this ballet has become a primer in identifying stark coolness choreosymphonic delineation in the new(neo) neo-new classic dance. It has been called a wristwatch for Balanchine clock-time.” The way they run in that performance is just so much fun and silly. It’s another wonderful piece. Symphonic music is not easy to dance to. Mad props to them.
The Dying Swan is also a trademark Trockadero, with white feathers falling from the tutu and the poor manly Odette begging death or god to not taker her life. In a final throw, feathers stick to her hand in annoyance and collapses shortly after still graceful while earlier collapsing like roadkill.
As I said earlier, Walpurgis Night was new to me but appears to be a Russian classic. Usually their final act is far more serious and technically just as awesome. It’s a chance for them to perform without having to make too much humor and just shine as brilliantly as they are. It was well done, just not engaging of a ballet personally so I don’t remember it too well.
Even as the curtain comes up for the final time we got a river dance performance! They are SO fantastic.
Overall the Trockaderos deserve to be seen, and any opportunity given to you you should snap it up! I will be sure to see them again when they’re in town next and bring more and more friends along with me to enjoy them too. These men need to be ultimately recognized for their work which is tireless, grueling, and constant. They should be paid more money and have a company as big as the Mariinsky!
Visit Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo for their performance schedule!